• Coetzee’s Stones: Dusklands and the Nonhuman Witness

    Author(s):
    Daniel Williams (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    CLCS Global Anglophone, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century English and Anglophone, TC Postcolonial Studies
    Subject(s):
    Coetzee, J. M., 1940-, South African literature, Ecocriticism, Postcolonialism, Ethics
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    nonhuman, witness, objects, parody, J.M. Coetzee, Thing theory
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/54c3-3t46
    Abstract:
    Bringing together theoretical writing on objects, testimony, and trauma to develop the category of the “nonhuman witness,” this essay considers the narrative, ethical, and ecological work performed by peripheral objects in J. M. Coetzee’s Dusklands (1974). Coetzee’s insistent object catalogues acquire narrative agency and provide material for a counter-narrative parody of first-personal reports of violence in Dusklands. Such collections of nonhuman witnesses further disclose the longer temporality of ecological violence that extends beyond the text’s represented and imagined casualties. Linking the paired novellas of Dusklands, which concern 1970s America and 1760s South Africa, the essay finds in Coetzee’s strange early work a durable ethical contribution to South African literature precisely for its attention to nonhuman claimants and environments.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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